Criminal Assizes closes with no concrete solution to challenges

The curtains came down on the April 2018 Assizes last week Wednesday with only 14 matters completed out of the 136 that were listed for adjudication.

Timothy Williams – to be sentenced for Robbery with Violence

It was done during a special sitting of the high court held at the Grenada Trade Centre at Morne Rouge in Grand Anse, amidst an ongoing thrust by the authorities to find an adequate facility to house the nation’s high courts.

Approximately 3 months ago, court sittings were halted as judges and staff members were forced to evacuate the Cable & Wireless building on The Carenage in St. George’s amidst radiation concerns.

This brought a halt to a number of ongoing criminal and civil cases among them, the Kevin Mc Farlane trial, which was taking place before Justice Adrien Wayante-Roberts at High Court No. 5.

Mc Farlane was being tried on 2 counts of Rape, Indecent Assault and Kidnapping against an adult female from the sister isle of Carriacou.

The jury was dismissed by Guyanese-born judge Madam Justice Paula Gilford during a sitting at the Grenada Trade Centre (GTC), approximately 2 weeks ago, when the court, which has not had a sitting since the beginning of May, temporarily resumed operations to finalise a number of outstanding matters.

The Kevin Mc Farlane trial will be among the 108 matters that will be traversed to the September 2018 Assizes.

According to Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Brendon La Touché, a total of 10 matters are pending sentencing in the upcoming assizes.

These include one involving the mentally disabled Dexter Slinger, who was charged with Non-Capital Murder for causing the July 2016 chopping death of 50-year-old Michael Bascombe who died after receiving a severe chop wound with a cutlass on the right side of his neck.

Murder accused Darren Maitland is also awaiting sentence for the January 2015 death of Leslie “Dutty Cup” Isaac, who died after receiving multiple stabs to his body during an altercation with Maitland and two others.

Maitland along with his younger brother Jacob Maitland and Kimon Charles, were initially slapped with the indictable charge, however, the state prosecution dropped the charge against them and Maitland was stuck with the charge.

Another matter up for sentencing is Timothy Williams, for crimes of Robbery with Violence.

In December 2017, Williams, who has been held as a remand prisoner at the Richmond Hill Prison since August 2016 for the alleged commission of crimes of s serious nature, had fell and broke one of his legs during a daring attempt to escape custody on the compound of the High Court in St George’s.

In recent times, sex and sex-related crimes, especially those committed against young girls have dominated the assizes list with there being 55 out of the 139 on the January assizes list, compared to the 62 sex-related cases, out of 167 that were on the October 2017 assizes list.The island’s newly installed acting Commissioner of Police (CoP)

Edvin Martin recently announced his intention to form a “specialised sexual unit,” as part of a new thrust towards the modernisation of the force and its operations.

In commenting on the development, La Touché, told THE NEW TODAY last week Friday that such a move is “a step in the right direction to help curb the prevalence of these types of offences (sex-related).

“It means (that) we will have a dedicated unit charged with dealing with these types of offences – so, it’s a positive,” he declared.

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